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Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 1179–1196 | Cite as

Subjective Well-Being of Older African Americans with DSM IV Psychiatric Disorders

  • Tina L. PetersonEmail author
  • Linda M. Chatters
  • Robert Joseph Taylor
  • Ann W. Nguyen
Research Paper

Abstract

This study examined demographic and mental health correlates of subjective well-being (i.e., life satisfaction, happiness) using a national sample of older African Americans with psychiatric disorders. We used a subsample of 185 African Americans, 55 and older with at least one of thirteen lifetime psychiatric disorders from The National Survey of American Life: Coping with Stress in the Twenty-first Century. The findings indicated that among this population of older adults who had a lifetime psychiatric disorder, having a lifetime suicidal ideation was associated with life satisfaction but not happiness. Further, having a 12-month anxiety disorder or a lifetime suicidal ideation was not associated with happiness. Having a 12-month mood disorder, however, was negatively associated with an individual’s level of happiness, as well as their life satisfaction. Additionally, there were two significant interactions. Among men, employment was positively associated with life satisfaction, and marriage was associated with higher levels of happiness among men but not women. The overall pattern of findings reflects both similarities and departures from prior research confirming that well-being evaluations are associated with multiple factors.

Keywords

Life satisfaction Happiness Depression Anxiety disorder Mood disorder Mental health Suicidal ideation 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The data collection on which this study is based was supported by the National Institute of Health (NIMH; U01-MH57716) with supplemental support from the Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the University of Michigan. The preparation of this manuscript was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (P30-AG15281).

Conflict of interest

Authors have no conflicts of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tina L. Peterson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Linda M. Chatters
    • 2
  • Robert Joseph Taylor
    • 3
  • Ann W. Nguyen
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Social WorkWestern Kentucky UniversityBowling GreenUSA
  2. 2.School of Public Health, School of Social WorkUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.School of Social Work, Institute for Social ResearchUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  4. 4.Department of Psychology, School of Social WorkUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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